I’ll bet many of you grew up watching the televised cooking shows of Julia Child, “The French Chef.” If not, you’re probably familiar with her name.
Credited with popularizing French cuisine for an American audience, this six-foot, two-inch dynamo was always a hoot to watch. You not only learned a great deal about cooking from Julia, but you were also entertained with zingers like these:
“A party without a cake is just a meeting.”
“I think every woman should have a blowtorch.”
“Cooking is like love—it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
“I just hate health food!”
But the Julia Child quotation that has stayed with me is this:
“Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.”
Why does this phrase resonate with me? Because with faith, as with cooking, the size of our “container” can be a limiting factor.
I’m sure at one time or another most of us have made the mistake of starting out cooking some soup or stock in a pot that turned out to be too small for all the ingredients we ended up adding. We’d then have to get a larger pot and transfer the contents of the first pot into it, no doubt spilling some in the process. If we’d begun cooking with a big enough pot in the first place, we wouldn’t have had to go to that extra trouble.
When it comes to our faith, the same truth holds.
Scripture tells us that without faith it’s impossible to please God. When our faith is merely of the “small pot” variety, I wonder if God is disappointed? On the other hand, having “large pot” faith seems to give God room to bless us above all that we ask or think.
Think of the story of Elisha and the widow in 2 Kings 4. This poor lady was being besieged by creditors, and was unable to pay them what she owed. They were about to take her two sons to be slaves as repayment for the debt.
Elisha asked her what she had in the house that could be sold. It turned out she had only one jar of olive oil, not enough to cover what she owed. So Elisha told the widow to borrow pots from her neighbours, as many as she could.
The widow did as Elisha suggested. When she’d gathered all the pots in her house, she began pouring her little jar of oil into the first pot. To her amazement, the pot was filled to the brim! She continued pouring oil into all the other pots until they were full as well.
She asked her son to bring her another vessel, but there were no more to be had. The oil stopped multiplying when she’d filled the last pot.
Thanks to the miraculous multiplication of the oil, the widow had plenty to sell to repay her debt. Not only that, she had enough money left over for her and her sons to live off.
This story always made me wonder: if the widow had had more pots, would the oil have continued to flow? I believe it would have. It seems to me that the total volume of her collected pots was the only limiting factor to her miracle.
I believe this is an indication that we shouldn’t put restrictions on God. He loves it when we have “large pot” faith and ask for big things. He may do much more than we’d expect!
Think of Joshua’s “big ask” of God when he needed more time to defeat Israel’s enemies. Joshua knew that if he didn’t defeat the Amorites by sundown, they’d have time to regroup overnight and attack again the next day. So Joshua asked God to lengthen the day for him:
“On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said,
“Let the sun stand still over Gibeon
and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.”
“So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies.” (Joshua 10:12-13 NLT)
It goes on to say: “There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer.”
Now that’s “large pot” faith! God rewarded Joshua’s confidence in His power and goodness by granting him a miracle unprecedented in history.
I wonder if sometimes our “small pot” faith puts limits on what we might receive from God? Maybe we should take our cue from Joshua and have faith for bigger things. Let’s get a larger pot, and see if God won’t fill it to overflowing!
As Jesus said, “According to your faith be it unto you.” (Matthew 9:29 KJV)
© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.